PUT ON your cow-person hat and boots, leave your inhibitions at the door and immerse yourself in two hours of froth and frivolity – this delicious feast of female empowerment is back in town at the Alex.
The Queen of Country is there to meet the audience too – sadly not in person but via a screen, which appears in the clock of the huge sparkly ‘9 to 5’ fly-drop.
Ms Parton gives us a bubbly narrative about office life in the 1970s and then it’s straight into the title song. Good vibrations leap across the curtain line as we meet the company who dance, sing and stomp – with seemingly the whole house joining in the chorus.
Lights encased in ancient Commodore 64 computers –hundreds of them! –form inward-pointing tunnels as part of the huge kaleidoscopic set from designer Tom Rogers. Just like the acting action, the set is fast moving and tells its own visual stories. Homage here also to the video designer, Nina Dunn, for the most amazing moving 3D cyclorama I’ve ever seen.
The story concerns three female workmates and their battle with the slimy misogynistic boss Franklin Hart Jnr – perfectly captured by Sean Needham. Hart Junior’s company philosophy is – men play golf, make money and tell chauvinistic jokes, whilst women make coffee, flash teeth and look pretty.
The girls kidnap the big bad boss, tie him up in his own S and M gear and hold him prisoner in his own house. Whilst he is ensconced they reorganise the company along gender equality lines.
The three musketeers are secretary Violet Newstead played by a confident and endearing Louise Redknapp, new employee and newly divorced Judy Bernly played by Vivian Panka and perfectly completing the trio is Stephanie Chandos as head secretary, Dolores Rhodes – the Dolly Parton look alike.
A special mention for Julia J Nagle as Ros Keith – the Hart Jnr Groupie and company dobber-in.
Directed to give us never a dull moment by Jeff Calhoun with stunning choreography from Lisa Stevens and a book full of humour from Patricia Resnick – plus of course music and lyrics by Dolly herself, this is indeed a feast for the faithful.
There’s not much to think about but a great deal to enjoy and as a bonus Dolly leads the clapping from her onscreen Clock in the walkdown – the full house, mostly female audience exited joyously – ME TOO!
9to5 is at the Alex until Saturday, November 20. Click here for times, tickets and more information.